CI&E News

What is A Space Entrepreneur?

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

Space entrepreneurs are just one of the many emerging professions in the global space ecosystem, as the private sector is often a hub for a variety of careers and professions that go far beyond astronauts and mission control.

So, what exactly is a space entrepreneur? This blog will cover what space entrepreneurs do, how to become a space entrepreneur, reasons to consider the profession, and how space entrepreneurs contribute to working in the space industry, as well as here on Earth.

What Do Space Entrepreneurs Do?

Space entrepreneurs represent your average aspiring new business owner; but rather than working in industries like hospitality, marketing, or other “conventional/normal” industries, they work in the commercial space community.

One of the many possibilities space entrepreneurs can do is own their own company, whether it be a satellite launch company, a company that designs technology for space missions, or any other business involved in space activity.

Elon MuskWhen most people think of these space entrepreneurs, they think of billionaires like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos who manage significant commercial space enterprises. While they are some of the most well-known entrepreneurs, there are plenty of opportunities for space entrepreneurs in a more mainstream, achievable way.

How To Become A Space Entrepreneur

There are many different ways one could break into the space entrepreneur community, and you don’t have to have a huge net worth or celebrity-status name to start. Here are some typical ways people break into the space entrepreneurship industry:

Commercializing Space Technology

NASA is often what many people consider the ultimate space organization, and while that is often true, commercial industries play a significant role in the space industry, such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing, Virgin Galactic, Space Ventures, and more.

Many of these companies gained success after using technology that was previously only utilized and funded by government agencies. Once this technology has been created, it is much easier to access from a commercial standpoint.

For example, SpaceX did not invent the modern rocket as we know it, but they were able to commercialize its technology with the goal of one day providing hospitality in space, commercial space flights, and things that would never have been offered to the public.

As more companies commercialize technologies, their price is more obtainable to smaller enterprises. In addition, these smaller companies could be bought out or merged with larger commercial companies.

This benefits both groups, as larger companies can gain new technology and expertise, and small businesses are rewarded for the hard work they’ve put into these space endeavors.

Commercializing space technology is a great way to become a space entrepreneur because often you are not starting from scratch, and can model your business off of existing companies or technology and build from their lessons learned too.

Utilizing Space Technology In a New Way

Another way you can consider yourself a space entrepreneur is by using space technology in a new way. Many space entrepreneurs have found success this way, whether they use space technology in a unique way for space missions or projects, or to solve problems on Earth.

For example, the owners of Compass Coffee in Washington, D.C. used NASA technology to brew the perfect cup of coffee, incorporating NASA temperature controls in their espresso machines. This is just one example of how someone could create technologies from existing space tech to better serve functions on Earth.

Delsys Trigno SensorResearchers at Delsys Inc. have made an impact on people who are paralyzed as their work is designed to help these individuals walk again, regain muscle use, or even be able to control prosthetic limbs.

Delsys has worked closely with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, as the agency’s missions have allowed for the study of muscle functions, the effect of weightlessness on the human body, and more. Delsys used technology created by NASA, such as various gloves to test with NASA astronauts who had experienced muscle fatigue.

Another way space technology has been used uniquely is through the work of SpaceX’s Starlink system, which provides and improves internet coverage through 12,000 satellites that are in continuous orbit. Satellite technologies have helped functions on Earth in countless ways, with Wi-Fi being one of them. SpaceX Starlink system provides this type of Internet access to places that might not otherwise have the coverage at all, like rural areas.

Why Should Someone Become a Space Entrepreneur?

TSR-Q2-CoverSpace is a growing opportunity for anyone interested in making their dreams a reality. Because of the integration of commercial and privately owned businesses, the global space economy is growing significantly every year. In the 2022 Q2 Space Report, it reported a 9 percent growth in the space industry, with the global space economy reaching $469 billion for calendar year 2021.

In addition to this significant growth, there are even more advantageous possibilities on the horizon for entrepreneurs to consider as future Moon and Mars missions by the United States and others begin to take shape. There couldn’t be a better time for anyone to be involved in space. No matter how big or small a company is, space success thus far has been built on small ideas that came to life.

How You Can Get Started Today

Are you interested in learning more about space entrepreneurship? There are plenty of resources available to educate people on space careers, the industry, and great ways to set yourself apart from the competition.

Space Foundation’s Space Commerce Institute connects you to the dynamic space industry through education, experience, training, mentorship, and consultancy. From online workshops to consulting, Space Commerce Institute provides actionable and tangible programming that facilitates growth into and within the global space ecosystem.

Explore Space Commerce Institute programming here.